Demonstrative started out slowly but finished his first jumps race of the season in grand fashion.
The six-year-old bay gelding stormed to the front on the last lap and held off Divine Fortune by a nose to win the 72nd running of the Iroquois Steeplechase at Percy Warner Park on Saturday in front of an estimated crowd of more than 25,000. Owner Jacqueline Ohrstrom took home $90,000 of the $150,000 purse – the richest race on the spring circuit.
Trainer Richard Valentine said it isn’t unusual for Demonstrative to start in the middle of the back and work his way up. Even Valentine was a little concerned, though, when the horse fell to sixth on the first lap.
Before the last turn, Demonstrative took the lead and held off a ferocious effort by Divine Fortune, which finished second last year.
“The last two fences were long and he picked up for me,” jockey Robert Walsh said. “The other horse came back at him and [Demonstrative] dug in deep. He is top class. He is probably the best horse in the country right now. Divine Fortune ran a game, game race in defeat. He was tough.”